Has anyone ever experienced carpal tunnel syndrome? I've been cooking professionally for a year and now have acute CTS. Any tips or pointers



thirteenJ April 20, 2013
thirteenJ April 20, 2013
Icing your wrist periodically may give you quick relief from the inflammation that is pinching your nerve. Get to a doctor...it's probably not going away on it's own. You can also find a Feldenkrais practitioner that may help you find different ways to do your required job activities.(your posture, the way you grab a pan,etc)
mrslarkin April 20, 2013
found this great website with really detailed hand anatomy, and soft tissue release exercises with the foam roller and tennis ball. http://www.athletestreatingathletes.com/self-muscle-massage/self-muscle-massage-pt-17-hand/

i've been wearing wrist splints the past couple of nights, and they help immensely.
jsdunbar April 14, 2013
When I was diagnosed with CPS, EMG testing was inconclusive, but my symptoms were severe, so the neurologist used the old-fashioned method; with my site blocked, she poked me me with a safety pin, & I told her when I felt it. No question. Carpal Tunnel syndrome in both wrists.
petitbleu April 14, 2013
Careful with the flexaril, btw. It can knock you on your butt. It has such a strong impact on me that I only take it when I'm really hurting, and only at night.
I also give major props to a long-term yoga practice for preventing injuries. Stretching and working on tight spots can make a huge difference when working in a fast-paced, high-stress environment where you don't always treat your body the way you should. Take time out of your day to stretch your hands and wrists. It's a small thing that can help.
savorthis April 14, 2013
My husband had surgery for his (also from professional cooking) and my mom did as well, both with quick recovery and good results. I am on the computer most of the day and for me, the stretching we do in my Iyengar yoga classes really seem to work wonders. Not sure if it can revert existing damage, but is certainly a good tool for avoidance.
jsdunbar April 14, 2013
I had CPS, both wrists, & was given the choice of splints or surgery. I chose splints, & had them on 24 h/day for ten weeks. It was really hard to function without being able to use my wrists. I had to use 2 hands to twist a door knob. Kneading bread would have been out of the question! After the splints finally came off I was OK again, but I still have to guard against putting weight on my hands when my wrists are flexed, or bending or flexing my wrists to the extreme or they get sore (no problem kneading dough). The CPS war 25 years ago. Others I've talked to had surgery with no problems after. I may have had a severe case - it was very painful to use my hands at all. Good luck to you.
cook4you April 13, 2013
I am so honored by all of the responses I've gotten! Thanks so much. Just an FYI...I did have an MRI, came back normal. That was based on my upper back pain that they still aren't sure whats causing it. Doc said I had a beautiful neck, whatever that's worth. Then the doc, neurologist, said I had carpel tunnel and wants me to have a nerve test next week as well as wear braces at night, take flexeril, and start physical therapy. I just don't want to be medically poor and it not be worth it.

Thanks for so much advice and input. I will take all of it into consideration.
sdebrango April 14, 2013
Yes the only way to accurately diagnose CTS is with the EMG, that will tell you and the doc the extent of the nerve damage. Prepare yourself, it's no fun at least for me it wasn't. Mine was a very severe case at least in my right hand, I got corticosteroid injections in my hand/wrist to alleviate the swelling of the carpal nerve which helped but you are only allowed 4 of those shots and the effects are short lived. Best of luck and I hope wearing a splint and therapy will alleviate the problem for you.
SaraKL April 13, 2013
Limit the weight of your cookware, if possible. It can make a difference...it did for me!!
mrslarkin April 13, 2013
Yes. my doctor told me to get the splints/braces to wear during the day/night. How do you cook with those things on? not possible when you're wrist-deep in dough.

for me, the pain/numbness/tingling/pins & needles is worse in the middle of the night. It wakes me up. I've noticed it helps to straighten out my arms/wrists when I go to sleep. I tend to be a curled-up pretzel sleeper.

I recently found these yoga videos, which seem to help, when I remember to do the exercises:

Also, some nights are worse than others, but I can't figure out why.
paseo April 14, 2013
I have exactly the same - mine is in both hands (am ambidextrous) and was much, much worse at night UNTIL I started wearing comfortable braces specifically for night wear. Makes an enormous difference and I sleep the same as you - all curled up. Not expensive and worth a try.
jennyfenny April 13, 2013
When I have had work related issues with my hands and fingers hurting from repetitive tasks, I took a glucosamine supplement with potassium. It really made a difference after taking it a
couple days. Bromelain, which is in pineapple, is also good for reducing inflammation and swelling of the joints. I recommend the book Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A. Balch; It has a lot of vitamin and supplement suggestions to help with various conditions as well as foods to eat or avoid. For example, foods containing a lot of oxalic acid can promote joint problems. I have found the book very helpful in the past. good luck.

Voted the Best Reply!

ChefOno April 13, 2013

I can't speak to your condition specifically but I have done battle with lateral epicondylitis, AKA "tennis elbow" (or in my case, fencer's elbow and shooter's elbow). What I learned in hindsight is that braces and painkillers only allow the condition to become worse and either extend healing time or lead to surgery and / or permanent disability. It wasn't until I couldn't pick up a glass of water without wincing in pain that I was willing to admit how serious my situation had become and that the course of my life had changed, like it or not.

My advice, the part that's not written between the lines above, is to consult a specialist if you haven't already, and if you have, get a second opinion. Just don't allow your situation to get worse, no matter what that takes.

sdebrango April 13, 2013
You are so right Chef Ono, I did exactly that and it only got worse ultimately resulting in surgery.
pierino April 13, 2013
I feel your pain. Literally. I don't have CTS but both of my thumbs sub lux---that's congenital. I pop two Aleve in the morning and two at night and just try to work around it. I do put trust in physical therapy as I had major knee problems. So, good luck!
sdebrango April 13, 2013
I have CTS in both hands, I tried wearing a splint, massage, accupucture, accupressure, anti inflammatory's herbal rememdies and nothing worked. My right hand was much worse than my left (I am right handed. It became so severe with terrible numbness and pain including dequervains tendonitis that I had to have surgery on my right hand which helped tremendously. I had severe nerve damage and feared losing the use of my right hand. I now have no pain or numbness in the right hand and my left hand now is not so much of a problem. I don't cook professionally but do do cook every day, am on the computer all the time and use my hands a lot. I do physical therapy on both hand still and have found that yoga helps alot.
Kitchen B. April 13, 2013
BTW I also use my 'other' hand to do tasks.

Plus I use less pressure in carrying out tasks - I don't grip too tightly.

Hope it all helps
Kitchen B. April 13, 2013
I have had CTS/Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) - I work on the computer most of the day, and cook most evenings.

I had physio, and that made a lot of difference. Apparently, the muscles down't get the stretch they need in multi-directions as they are focused in one direction, so a lot of the therapy was to create more flexibility in my wrist and elbow.

Its much better now, though occassionally I wake up with a numb wrist in the morning.

Some things I do to prevent a serious repeat
- I avoid writing long text by hand
- I stretch my wrist by bending my fingers backwards a few times a day (when I remember)
- I take frequent breaks and make 'twinkle star' motions with my fingers, bringing them to a point and spreading them apart
- I rest.

There's hope. Stay well
darksideofthespoon April 13, 2013
The only thing that made my CTS better was quitting my job and taking a month off. Sorry. :\ I even slept with a wrist brace on. Other than spending almost all of your time in a brace, I'm unsure what you can do besides limit movement or take some time off.
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